The most fresh and fun Ultraman series of a generation continues strong with these two, semi-linked episodes and we finally get to see Aizen actually acting like a villain beyond summoning random kaiju!
In this episode, we open with Aizen observing a battle between the Ultra brothers and this week’s kaiju, Mecha Gomora, to learn about the pair and remarks that Katsumi should stick to playing baseball, while Isami seems like a child. The brothers, for their part, are met by an old family friend called Koma, who is a world-traveling chef and uses a lot Spanish phrases in her speech. She dresses extravagantly, in purple and bright yellows and blues, and is said to return to Ayaka City every four years to check in on the city’s children.
For such a brief introduction to a character, a lot of emphasis is put on building up Koma as a fixture of Ayaka City, the same way certain businesses or landmarks would be. The brothers even openly reminisce with fond memories of playing janken (rock, paper, scissors) with Koma and Isami having been defeated 100 times four years ago. Naturally, after meeting her, Aizen decides to target Koma this week to lure the brothers out into the fight.
She ends up strapped into Mecha Gomora like a pilot, and we get to see some creative uses of new powers and teamwork before the episode concludes. For this episode, most of the substance is built in around Koma and her place in the world of Ultraman R/B, but it pays off in the end and the brothers are left better for the experience.
Fourth wall breaks and dropped spaghetti abound in this episode. As Katsumi, Asahi, and their father are being interviewed for a local TV news special inside Quattro M, Isami is out and about and spots a Kaiju attacking Ayaka City. He tries to engage in the fight after Katsumi says he can’t make it, and this turns into a running gag where the brothers will talk to each other and ignore the Kaiju, or Isami will talk directly to the Kaiju, making it wait impatiently, but politely, for the fight to begin. It’s silly and breaks the fourth wall in the best ways, and serves as an excellent showcase of the humour this show can convey when it wants to.
When Aizen shows up, his anger is over the top, on par with that of a Looney Tunes character in his facial expressions and the way he speaks. He is upset about their squabble, and vows to take them on head-on. It’s here we get a clear shot of him holding a R/B Gyro and carrying the Ultraman Orb Dark crystal together for the first time. Cutting away from that, the brothers begin to argue more openly about why one Gyro works and the other doesn’t, with Isami insisting they take them apart to examine the mechanical bits.
As always, the two lead actors play off each other incredibly well, and the episode keeps its over-the-top tone throughout, even as they try to balance the humour with the gravity of their actions as Ultramen leading to things like Koma’s injuries in episode 6, or parts of the city being destroyed by the fighting. After a hit taken in the fourth-wall-breaking fight earlier in the episode, Katsumi is left with a mark on his face, leading everyone to think that Isami is the one who hit him.
Koma returns this week, still in the hospital, and being visited by Aizen when Katsumi goes to see her. Katsumi seems to have no idea Aizen is behind the repeated attacks on the city, and somehow neither does Isami. This is a point to Aizen’s credit, as he has been acting strictly behind the scenes up to this point, with the only hint at his true nature being that he seems to always know more than he lets on when he talks to the brothers.
It’s the mark of a well-crafted villain to know when to play his hand, and though it has been previously confirmed that Aizen will be transforming into Ultraman Orb Dark in the next episode, it’s a wonder the brothers haven’t picked up so much as a hint after all this time. He knows when to act and does not hesitate when the time comes, as he declares while summoning this week’s Kaiju from the hospital roof. As soon as this second appearance of Grugio Bone happens, though, all the levity is fittingly dropped in favour of the atmosphere of crisis an attack on an urban area by a kaiju should ellicit.
As always, Ultraman R/B blends humour and serious topics in an excellent way this week. Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on social media! Stay tuned for more.